A joint Instagram post from 10 Downing Street (the office of the British Prime Minister) and the Northern Ireland Office on Tuesday, November 21 included an emoji of the Irish flag when referring to Northern Ireland.

The post featured photos from a reception that was hosted in London on Monday evening where the British Prime Minister's Office and the Northern Ireland Office "celebrated the culture of Northern Ireland."

The original post said: "Businesses from across Northern Ireland arrived to showcase some of the best produce the country has to offer," with an Irish flag emoji at the end.

The post, however, has since been edited to remove the Irish flag emoji.

"Obviously that was an error," a spokesperson for the British Prime Minister's Office told The Daily Mail, "It was quickly deleted."

On X, Adam Payne, the political editor at PoliticsHome, shared a side-by-side of the original Instagram post and the edited Instagram post which removed the Irish flag emoji:

a hasty edit pic.twitter.com/QMLSf4mmbn

— Adam Payne (@adampayne26) November 21, 2023

Northern Ireland's Ulster Unionist Party leader Doug Beattie, who was in attendance at Monday's event, said on BBC Radio Ulster's Nolan Show on Tuesday that he wasn't aware of the Irish flag emoji gaffe yet but admitted it was "slightly crazy."

He discussed the gaffe in light of Northern Ireland's absence of a functioning Executive for over a year, saying: "There's some people out there who want to have all of the devolved power that we have back to Westminster.

"And here's what Westminster are doing. They got rid of our Levelling Up funding, they brought us the Protocol, they brought us the Windsor Framework, and now they're firing out things on Instagram where they're using the wrong flag."

He continued: "The point is, these people don't understand us, they don't know us. 

"We are better served with devolved government.

"But like I said, somebody's probably made a mistake. It's just that they don't understand Northern Ireland. We understand Northern Ireland, we need devolved government.

"But I'll not be turning myself inside out over something like this."

Elsewhere on Tuesday, MP Steve Baker, Minister of State for Northern Ireland, shared a photo from Northern Ireland prominently featuring his lapel pins - one of the British Union Jack flag and one of the Ulster Banner.

The Ulster Banner flag was used by the Northern Irish government from 1953 until the government and parliament were abolished in 1973. It currently has no official status in Northern Ireland, though it is still embraced in loyalist and unionist communities and some sporting teams use it in international competition.

🇬🇧Good morning from Northern Ireland. pic.twitter.com/kTZFQuWSb1

— Steve Baker MP FRSA 🗽 (@SteveBakerHW) November 21, 2023

While Baker limited the comments on his post on X, several people quoted his post to respond.

Joe Dwyer of Sinn Féin's London office said: "The Ulster banner has no official or legal status. It was the flag of the “Northern Ireland Parliament” which was abolished in 1973. In a bid to regain ground they only further demonstrate how little they ‘get’ the North."

Alliance Party MLA Danny Donnelly simply said: "Who's gonna tell him?"

Meanwhile, the flags fiasco comes the day after it was revealed that Northern Ireland will receive no money through the UK's Levelling Up Fund. 

"In Northern Ireland, given the current absence of a working Executive and Assembly, the Government is not proceeding with this round of the Levelling Up Fund at this time," the UK's Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said on Monday.

"We will continue to work closely with projects and places in Northern Ireland that were awarded a total of £120 million in the first two rounds of the Fund."